Alderman v. United States

Alderman v. United States (1969) 394 U.S. 165 involved illegal electronic surveillance. In Alderman, the court reiterated that "Fourth Amendment rights are personal rights which, like some other constitutional rights, may not be vicariously asserted," and went on to conclude that a defendant "would be entitled to the suppression of government evidence originating in electronic surveillance violative of his own Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures ... if the United States unlawfully overheard conversations of the defendant himself or conversations occurring on his premises, whether or not he was present or participated in those conversations." ( Alderman v. United States, supra, 394 U.S. at pp. 174.) The court explained that the defendant's presence was not necessary to render the electronic surveillance a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights because "the rights of the owner of the premises are as clearly invaded when the police illegally enter and install a listening device in his house as they are when the entry is made to undertake a warrantless search for tangible property; and the prosecution as surely employs the fruits of an illegal search of the home when it offers overheard third-party conversations as it does when it introduces tangible evidence belonging not to the homeowner, but to others." (Id. at pp. 179-180 22 L. Ed. 2d at p. 190.)